Gil Elvgren, Top Image-Maker & Pin-Up Glamour Master

Born in 1914 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Gil Elvgren was a master painter and one of America’s first and best loved pin-up artists. He is possibly the foremost painter of sensuality through using models who possess a ‘girl-next-door’ quality. His heroines are often caught in humorous situations that cause their skirts to rise and our eyes to follow. His paintings are an excellent proof of the phrase, “A picture is worth one thousand words.”

Elvgren commenced studies at the Minneapolis Art Institute, and later studied (and even taught) at the Chicago Academy of Art. His parents first encouraged him to study architecture, but shortly after starting his studies he decided to pursue art instead. Some of Gil’s fellow students were Al Buell, Andrew Loomis, Coby Whitmore, Robert Skemp and Ben Stahl. Many of his academy friends would later also work for Coca Cola.

Elvgren graduated from the Academy during the depression at the age of twenty-two. Elvgren first job was one for one of the major US advertising agencies, Stevens and Gross. One of their most exciting clients was Coca-Cola. Elvgren contributed to several Coca-Cola ads. No artist working for Coke could sign his work, but Elvgren’s hand & style remain very recognizable.

Elvgren’s work also mirrors the sheer, nostalgic revery that the breathtaking illustrations of Haddon Sundblom’s “Coca-Cola” Santa’s evoke. No wonder, as Elvgren quickly became a protégé of the legendary Sundblom. The old master taught his star pupil the lush brush stroke technique that makes Elvgren’s girls such glowing wonders.

Elvgren conveys the ideal of real life, fun, beauty and sensuality in every of his paintings. Never sexual, always sensual, their style is the epitome of the age of elegance in which he lived.
He spent extreme amounts of time posing the models for the pre-painting photograph. Elvgren always looked for models with vitality and personality, and chose young girls who were new to the modeling business. He felt the ideal pin-up was a 15 year old face on a 20 year old body. In some cases, he combined the body of one girl and the face of another to achieve the desired result.

In 1937, Gil began painting calendar pin-ups for Louis Dow, one of America’s leading publishing companies. These artworks are easily recognizable because they are signed with a printed version of Elvgren’s name, as opposed to his later cursive signature. Dow paintings were often published first in one format, then painted over with different clothes and situations.

Around 1944, Gil was approached by Brown and Bigelow, a firm that still dominates the field in producing calendars and advertising specialties. They offered him $1000 per pin-up, which was substantially more than Dow was paying him. Elvgren signed on with B&B. Gil’s Brown and Bigelow images all contain his cursive signature. Elvgren painted twenty calendar girls each year, ranging from the girl next door letting her dog out, to brave rodeo heroines & water skiing action girls.

Besides a successful career in advertising, Gil Elvgren also did a lot of magazine illustrations. His pretty girls also appeared on many billboards, the same image sometimes modified a bit to sell more than one type of product.

According to Elvgren author & art collector Louis Meisel: “Between the mid-1930s and early 70s, Elvgren produced over 500 paintings of beautiful girls and women. As the decades progressed, the paintings just kept getting better and better. Elvgren continually surpassed himself, always improving in composition, ideas, color and technique.”

The beautiful Elvgren girls are never portrayed as a femme fatale. They are stylized ideals in which the realities and essentials of female form and expression are heightened and exalted artistically. Their charms are revealed in that fleeting instant when she’s been caught unaware in what might be a surprising, sometimes even embarrassing situation. She is intruded upon as she takes a bath. Her skirts get caught in elevator doors, hung up on faucets, and entangled with dog leashes. The elements conspire in divesting her of her clothing. The Elvgren girls, pictured in a variety of fun and clever contexts, are life-affirmative art of the highest order.

Elvgren died in 1980, at the age of 66. Lately, there’s a resurgent interest in his work and prints of his pictures are still bestsellers. Today, Elvgren is recognized as one of the top image makers & glamour artists of the 20th century.

Advertisements

Coca-Cola Hungary – 40 Years of Happy Moments Expo

Forty years ago, Coca-Cola came to Hungary. In 1968, Coke was the first American product that made it through the Iron Curtain. To commemorate this occasion, Coca-Cola unfurled a collection of vintage pictures of “Happy Hungarians”.


“The purpose of our life is to be happy” – Dalai Lama


“Happiness in a bottle”


“Love is doing small things with great love” – Mother Teresa

Blow-up of the limited edition Coca-Cola Sziget Festival bottle, designed by the Hungarian artist Slow


Coca-Cola Art Bottles Installation


Coca-Cola Art Bottles Installation


Coca-Cola Art Bottles Installation


Coca-Cola Art Bottles Installation

Coca-Cola’s “Happy Moments” installation is part of the “Happiness Exhibition” by ARC Magazin. There are 62 original Happiness billboards and slogans plus 36 cultural posters; mind blowing work by Hungary’s most creative minds.

In 1846, the Hungarian poet Sándor Petőfi already came to the conclusion that the only happiness which is available to mankind is love: “The heart freezes if it doesn’t love”.
121 years later, John Lennon wrote “All you need is love”, a simple message to be understood by people from all over the globe.


One of the 62 billboards, showing Hungarians raising the flag of joy


This billboard reflects on the “stock market of life”


Things that make us happy (Boldogság is the Hungarian word for happiness)


Another “Happiness” billboard. A recent study shows that a smile motivated by real happiness is likely to inspire others to smile


A side exhibition showing a selection of this years cultural posters

You can visit the ARC Happiness Exhibition and Coca-Cola’s “40 Years of Happy Moments” expo at 56-osok Tere (just next to Heroes Square), Budapest, Hungary from August 28 -September 16, 2008. Entrance is free.

Delicious & Refreshing

In this video, you can see a compilation of the early Coca-Cola artworks – always delicious & refreshing!

For over 120 years Coca-Cola has made it’s impression on the advertising profession. As a true pioneer, Coke has continued to stay a step above normal advertising, and has always seemed to be able to `key its advertising to the mood of society’.

The first marketing effort was made in 1892, with a budget around $11,000, which was a great amount to be spent on advertising in that age. With that money, Coca-Cola hired sales men to travel around the country to promote the product for Soda Fountain owners to buy. In order to do this, Coca-Cola offered the fountain owners free merchandise such as decorative clocks, porcelain fountain urns, prescription scales, prescription cabinets, and showcases, all of which displayed the Coca-Cola name. They also handed out sample coupons so that people could try Coca-Cola for free.
Some years later the Coca-Cola advertising budget reached $500,000. In 1909, Coca-Cola was considered the best advertised article of the year.

Source: AmeriCola (Susie Derkins)

Remix Art Gallery

For the Coke Side of Life Remix Art Gallery, RockAndRoll Agency creatively managed 15 artists/agencies/collectives from around the world: Idokungfoo, Japan // Vault49, USA // Caos CC, Spain // Adhemas, Brazil // 013a, Romania // Creative XL, India // Extraverage, Hungary // Buro Destruct, Swiss // Mienandi, Senegal // The Designers Republic, UK // Rex (South Africa) // Todd Alan Breland (USA) // Spinbalon, Venezuela // Pixecute, Indonesia // Armchair & Josh Boston, USA // Fung Wee Lim, Canada.
Here you can see their artworks exposed on the SouthBank, London, UK.

The work of the Remix artists reflects various styles, personalities and cultures and the project shows how vibrantly creative the collaboration of a design network can be.
The diverse backgrounds of the contributing artists have resulted in a multifaceted world of imagery that draws its freshness from the mixture of approaches. Their mission is to spread an optimistic look at the world and help people realize how contagious happiness is. By combining iconic Coca-Cola images with up-to-date illustration techniques and styles, the artists have given rise to a progressive style of visual expression.

Designed within the “Coke Side of Life” concept and format, the Remix artworks are colorful explosions of positive thinking.
The experimental, playful and humorous collages of historical Coca-Cola milestone images are a true tribute to the brands unique and undying creative spirit.

Photography by RWDave, Russell+, Slimmer_Jimmer, Simpson_eh, Bergs Eye View, Hallywoods, Owizard (Flickr). All Rights Reserved.

ABOUT ROCKANDROLL AGENCY

RockAndRoll Agency is a full-cycle communication agency offering marketing services, strategic development and art direction. RockAndRoll Agency was founded in 2003 by Jean-Philippe Noterman and Wouter De Coster. Jean-Philippe studied philosophy/anthropology, Wouter has a background as fashion designer. Before starting RockAndRoll Agency, they worked already together for 5 years in the publishing and communication business.

RockAndRoll Agency has worked for clients as various as The Coca-Cola Group, Nokia, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Schott NY, Motorola, Hugo Boss Fragrances…
RockAndRoll Agency is dedicated to the production of visual identity design, graphic animation and websites. As art buyers and curators, RRA is always looking for artists with strong ideas and an individual voice.

An Iconic Brand

Somewhere along a road, a billboard bears the image of a silhouetted bottle on its side with the caption: “Quick. Name a soft drink.” The image reveals the iconic nature of the soft drink that fills the famous contoured bottle. The answer is unmistakably ‘Coca-Cola’!

In a special issue of Beverage World magazine, commemorating Coke’s 100th anniversary, the author described ‘Coca-Cola’ as “a product born of a solid idea, nurtured with creative thinking and bold decision-making.”
From the very beginning ‘Coca-Cola’ advertisements consisted of slice-of-life images showing the most diverse kind of people enjoying ‘their Coke’.


Different ‘Coca-Cola’ ads starring everyday people…


The ‘Coca-Cola’ Remix by Pixecute